THE Kenya Wildlife Service is seeking funds from corporate organisations to save the Sitatunga antelope from extinction. KWS director Julius Kipengetich said yesterday during the inaugural boat race to collect the funds and educate the public on the plight of rare semi-aquatic animal that Sh28 million is needed to construct a three-kilometre perimeter wall around the Kisumu Impala Sanctuary where the antelopes are found to save them from human predators.
According to Kipngetich, the Impala Conservation Boat Race will be held annually. "The rare antelope is facing extinction due poaching and illegal hunting as it roams about freely hence the need to construct perimeter wall to restrict its movement," he said. Sitatungas are also found, in small numbers, in Saiwa Swamp National Park in western Kenya, as well the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania and in several river basins in Uganda.
Thousands of the area residents who attended the launch were treated to a boat race by fishermen and fisherwomen from difference parts of Nyanza province.
The participants received cash and facilities awards from the sponsors of the event, including The Star newspaper, Kenya Maritime Authority, Ministry of Tourism, Park View Hotels and Apartments, Kenya Investment Authority, the Fisheries Department, tour operators, Non-Governmental Organisations and the Lake Basin Development Authority.
Kipngetich revealed that KWS was experiencing an upsurge in revenue collection. He said revenue from the Kisumu Impala Sanctuary has increased from Sh1.7 million in 2005 to Sh11 million this year. "The sanctuary's revenue and visitor numbers have increased, partly due to re-branding and other initiatives. The sanctuary's revenue has steadily risen from a low of Sh1.7 million in 2005; Sh3.8 in 2006; Sh5.15 in 2007; Sh5.2 million in 2008; Sh7.25 million in 2009 and Sh8.6 million in 2010. By September 2011, the sanctuary has collected Sh11 million," said the director.